What’s behind NYC’s literal sidewalk sales?

The city sells its streets and sidewalks because 'land is put to better use' that way

New York Weekend Edition /
Dec.December 10, 2017 04:00 PM

(Credit: Photo by Commons Wikis Take Manhattan; Image by Pixabay)

Nothing is off-limits in New York real estate and, yes, that includes sidewalks and streets. In fact, these curb-side properties are often sold to developers who want to take on private ownership for any number of reasons.

Though some are outraged on principle — “These are atrocious giveaways to real-estate companies simply looking to reap big profits,” as New York Communities for Change’s Jonathan Westin told the New York Post — the city makes a pretty penny off the deals and believes its a win-win.

Over the past four years alone, nine street sales netted the city about $35 million. So what’s in it for the developers? Less headaches apparently.

The Durst Organization bought two streets in Queens near their Halletts Point development (and about 25 percent of the units are deemed affordable) because, it seems, they weren’t confident the city would uphold maintenance to the waterfront.

“We paid the city $1 million to open up and fix and maintain their streets so the community has access to waterfront,” Durst’s Jordan Barowitz told the Post.

Even the city agrees it’s just better that way: “This is a multi-agency effort whereby vacant city-owned land is put to better use,” said a spokesperson at the city Law Department.

[NYP] — E.K. Hudson


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